It was the second week of Dakar Rally 2017 and teams were in full force to enter Argentina after battling the weather conditions in Bolivia. With Stage 6 cancelled followed by a day's break, it was just the right time for the Indian contingent Hero
MotoSports Team Rally and Sherco TVS
to build pace with the two-day marathon stage.
Stage 7 being the first part of the marathon stage, also meant riders weren't allowed to access their service crews at the end of the day. So, the challenge was not only to push harder but conserve the bike as well over the two-day ride.
Joaquim Rodrigues retained the 11 place at the end of Stage 7
Hero rider Joaquim Rodrigues began stage 7 on a strong note at the 20th position after completing the timed section in 2 hours 19 minutes and 46 seconds. The day saw Rodrigues make navigational mistakes, which led to the rider losing time but managed to retain his 11th place in the overall general classification standings. Meanwhile, Hero's CS Santosh India's CS Santosh too had a positive Stage 7, after finishing in the 38th place. He completed the timed section in 2 hours 35 minutes and 14 seconds which saw him finish an overall 67th, a gain of 3 places. Santosh was riding blind for the initial 60-65 km but managed to finally correct his course and then improved his time.
CS Santosh finished Stage 7 in the 38th place
Sherco TVS' Joan Pedrero continued to impress and finished the stage in the 19th place, managing the timed section in 2 hours 20 minutes and 26 seconds. His overall general classification also improved putting him on 22nd at the end of Stage 7. His teammate Adrien Metge did really well for the day finishing the course in 2 hours 15 minutes and 10 seconds at the 12th place. His overall standings saw him move up to 41st on the leaderboard.
Adrien Metge finished Stage 7 in the 41st place
The bad weather continued to follow the Dakar team as it reached closer to Argentina. Stage 8 was supposed to see participants complete the 892 km run from Uyuni in Bolivia to Salta in Argentina. Out of this, the competitive section was intended to be 492 km. But, torrential rain caused a river to overflow and impossible to cross. Given the safety issue, organisers decided to shorten the competitive section by 68 km and split the same into two parts. To make things worse, there was a landslide 200 km before Salta, blocking the transport section. This led to the service crews as well as the riders take a 150-km long detour to reach the destination.
Pedrero finished an overall 20th in Stage 8
As unintended that action was, participants made the most of it. TVS Sherco Racing's Joan Pedrero took the 5th spot in Stage 8, finishing just 6 minutes behind stage leader Joan Barreda Bort. This improved Pedrero's overall standings to 20th. On the other hand, Adrien Metge finished Stage 8 in 4 hours 50 minutes and 3 seconds taking the 25th place. His overall classification standings improved by three places to 38th position.
Adrien Metge's overall classification improved by 3 places to 38th
Hero's Joaquim Rodrigues managed to finish the competitive section at the 16th place in 4 hours 44 minutes and 57 seconds, just 16 minutes and 36 seconds behind the stage leader Joan Barreda Bort. His overall standings improved impressively to 10th place. Similarly, CS Santosh finished Stage 8 in the 47th place with a time of 5 hours 14 minutes and 1 second. Santosh grew further on the leader board finishing Stage 8 in 63rd place.
Santosh finished 63rd in overall standings
With the weather Gods showing no respite, the Dakar organisers have now cancelled Stage 9 due to heavy rains and landslide from the previous day. Stage 9 was supposed to take participants from Salta to Chilecito over 977 km, of which 406 km was the timed section. However, the landslide yesterday created a 150 km detour for the participants and the crew, which means they won't be able to make it in time for the start at Salta. Instead, the day will be used to regroup everyone in Chilecito for Stage 10, which measures 751 km with a 449 km timed section. Stage 10 will complete in San Juan.